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CHP closely monitors first local case of Zika Virus Infection in Malaysia
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) is today (September 4) closely monitoring the first local case of Zika Virus Infection in Malaysia, and urged the public to adopt strict anti-mosquito measures and safe sex during travel. Pregnant women and those planning pregnancy should not travel to affected areas.

     According to the Ministry of Health Malaysia, the male patient aged 61, who lives in Sabah, Malaysia, had no recent travel history and was likely a local case of Zika Virus Infection. The man passed away last night (September 3) due to other illness.
     "In view of emerging local Zika cases in Singapore, increase in affected areas and the confirmation of the first imported case in Hong Kong recently, due to a high volume of our international travel, there is a high risk of the introduction of Zika virus to Hong Kong. All sectors should step up efforts on mosquito control and members of the public should use insect repellents to protect themselves, their families and the community, " a spokesman for the CHP said.
     The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government issued an Amber Outbound Travel Alert (OTA) on Singapore on September 2 to remind the public to monitor the situation of the Zika virus outbreak in Singapore and exercise caution.

     "We will continue to maintain close liaison with the World Health Organization (WHO) as well as overseas, neighbouring and Mainland health authorities to closely monitor the latest developments," the spokesman said.

     To prevent Zika Virus Infection, in addition to general anti-mosquito measures, the DH draws the public's attention to the special notes below:

A. Travelling abroad
  • If going to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission (affected areas), travellers, especially those with immune disorders or severe chronic illnesses, should arrange consultation with a doctor at least six weeks before the trip, and take extra preventive measures to avoid mosquito bites;
  • Those arriving from affected areas should apply insect repellent for at least 21 days upon arrival. If feeling unwell, such as having a fever, seek medical advice as soon as possible, and provide travel details to the doctor;
  • Travellers should consider not having sex during travel to affected areas, or else condoms should be used;
  • Travellers returning from affected areas should consider abstinence for at least two months upon return, or else condoms should be used. If diagnosed with Zika Virus Infection or having compatible symptoms, they should consider abstinence for at least six months upon onset, or else condoms should be used;

    B. Pregnant women and those preparing for pregnancy
  • Pregnant women and those preparing for pregnancy should not travel to affected areas. Those who must travel should seek medical advice from their doctor before the trip, adopt contraception if appropriate, strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip, and consult and reveal their travel history to their doctor if symptoms develop after the trip;
  • Women preparing for pregnancy are advised to continue to adopt contraception for at least two months after returning from affected areas if they have no symptoms of Zika Virus Infection, or six months if one or both members of the couple are symptomatic;

    C. Special notes for prevention of sexual transmission regarding adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Pregnant women should not have sex with partners who have travelled to affected areas, or else condoms should be used;
  • Travellers returning from affected areas should:
  1. Abstain from sex with pregnant partners, or else use condoms throughout the pregnancy; and
  2. Use condoms for at least six months if female partners may get pregnant.

     The public may visit the following pages for more disease information and health advice: the Zika Page of the CHP and the DH's Travel Health Service, the Outbound Travel Alert page of the Security Bureau, anti-mosquito precautions for women, and the WHO Zika virus situation reports.
Ends/Sunday, September 4, 2016
Issued at HKT 10:06
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